Numerous attractions of Amsterdam does not cease to amaze tourists from different countries. The city has a beautiful combination of ancient and modern architecture. For the large number of canals and bridges it is often called the Venice of the North. During the water walks the tourist can enjoy amazing views.
Fields of tulips, Dutch cheese, “night butterflies”, water channels… What other associations do you have at the mention of this place? Amsterdam is the largest city of the Netherlands, as well as the capital of the country. Its population is only 800,000. It occupies a hundred small islands.
Top 25 Sights in Amsterdam
The sights of Amsterdam and its surroundings are so diverse that they will probably attract any tourist: a lot of unusual museums, flower market, leaning old houses, canals and medieval bridges. What is a must-see in Amsterdam?
Sea palace restaurant
This one of Amsterdam’s popular and large restaurants was opened in 1984. It is located by the water, in the center of the city and is one of the most visited attractions in Amsterdam. The three-story Chinese cuisine restaurant, attracts visitors with its unusual architecture and beautiful panorama from the window. Built in the form of a Chinese pagoda, in the 80s it was the only floating restaurant in Europe. Tables are located on outdoor terraces and inside the restaurant under green glass roofs.
Polite, hospitable and tactful staff in national dress awaits you at the restaurant. It serves very tasty and high-quality Chinese food, including the famous Peking duck. The Palace-Restaurant on the River Amstel is especially beautiful in the evening, as it glows with many colorful lights. It is recommended to reserve tables in advance. Amsterdam has many fine restaurants, these attractions are beloved by many visitors to the country as well as locals.
The floating flower market on the Singel Canal is one of the most colorful and colorful attractions in Amsterdam at any time of year. It is unique in that all the floral goods are presented on floating barges. It’s a relic of the days when flowers and plants sold at this market were shipped immediately to the horticultural areas around town by boat. To this day, fresh flowers are brought here daily, maybe not in such quantities as before, but still a lot.
The market was first held in 1862. It has since become the most famous flower market in Holland. No matter what kind of flowers you like, you’re sure to find them here. These include traditional tulips, potted geraniums, domestic cypresses and exotic plants from Easter Island. You can also buy souvenirs here. In December you can buy Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes.
A historic landmark in Amsterdam is one of the city’s inner courtyards, also called the secret garden. Walking down this narrow vaulted passageway, you get out of the bustling city and into a world of peace and quiet.
The ancient buildings were once home to nuns of noble birth. They took care of orphans, cripples, and the poor. Religious beguines still live here today, despite the many visitors. In the courtyard is an English working church of the 15th century and a wooden house of the 16th century. Here you can also see the monument to Jesus Christ.
Madame Tussauds Museum
Amsterdam is home to one of the 16 branches of the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Special effects, vivid presentations of moving wax figures depict a historical journey through Holland, creating an amazing impression of life in the Netherlands. Naturally, you can see all your favorite celebrities and other landmarks when you visit the museum.
For a fee, you can also become a star for a day and be exhibited.
Madame Tussauds is located on Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam, about a ten-minute walk from the Central Station.
Van Gogh Museum
The Vincent van Gogh Museum opened in Amsterdam in 1973 thanks to the writer’s relatives, who donated most of the works currently on display to the museum. The art gallery contains approximately 200 paintings and 500 drawings of the famous painter, documents and personal letters. It is the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s works. The halls also display paintings by his contemporaries: Picasso, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Seurat, Monet, and others.
The museum hosts temporary exhibitions about the history of art. There is a souvenir shop, where you can buy a variety of things and accessories with images of the artist’s paintings. There is a library and a center for the study of his work. Interestingly, two Van Gogh paintings were stolen from here in 2002 and have yet to be found.
This attraction of Amsterdam is so popular that it collects huge queues, so it is better to buy tickets here in advance online.
Cheese market in Alkmaar
Not far from Amsterdam is the small town of Alkmaar, famous all over the world for its cheese production and cheese market. Every Friday from April to September, it sells the highest quality cheese.
If you do not know what to see around Amsterdam, go to the Cheese Market. The whole procedure of selling cheese takes place in accordance with the old traditions of the Guild of Cheese Dealers and looks very beautiful.
Church of St. Nicholas
Built between 1884 and 1887, St. Nicholas Church is the most famous of Amsterdam’s “new” churches. This tall and spacious building is located across from the Central Station. The architecture of the church combines Renaissance styles, mostly Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance. It is a classic three-nave basilica.
A large octagonal tower with a baroque dome and lantern rises above the building. The stained glass window of the inner shell of the dome was recently restored. The windows and walls decorated with paintings from the life of St. Nicholas are still striking.
The organ at St. Nicholas Church was built by the leading German organ master Wilhelm Sauer in 1889. It is the only major Sauer work in the Netherlands and one of the few in the world remaining in its original condition.
Red Light Quarter
These attractions in Amsterdam are a place of recreation and entertainment: beer, drugs, brothels, intimate stores. The red light district in the city center resembles a pleasure park, visited with great pleasure by curious tourists from all over the world. The place was named for the red lanterns that paint the entire neighborhood red at night.
Real estate in the area is very expensive, despite this the upper floors of buildings inhabited by ordinary people. Notably, there are no curtains on the windows, which is considered a symbol of openness and honesty. But the first floors of these apartment buildings are occupied by storefronts in which prostitutes are displayed. Not surprisingly, they even erected a monument to a whore here, the landmark standing right next to the local church.
The national government has so far unsuccessfully tried to combat the scale of prostitution in this area of Amsterdam. At the moment, the “lady of love” works legally and pays taxes to the government. The story goes that the Red Light District in Amsterdam dates back to the days when the city was a seaport and sailors often dropped by in search of booze and sexual pleasures. So that honest women would not be confused with prostitutes, the locals obliged them to light their territories with red lanterns.
When sightseeing in Amsterdam, remember that smoking and photography are prohibited.
This Romanesque fortress was built in the 13th century, but it was never involved in any wars, so it has come down to us, well preserved. For several centuries, Meudersloth Castle was a customs house.
Like every decent medieval castle, Meudersloot is haunted. It is the otherworldly shadow of Count Floris V, the former owner of the castle, who was killed by his vassals, from which he can find no resting place on earth.
In Amsterdam, there is a 17th-century house where Rembrandt lived and worked from 1639 to 1658. Here his son Titus was born, and his wife Saskia died.
In 1911 the house became a museum. The museum houses a small number of his original drawings, as well as paintings by his students and mentor. An extensive overview of Rembrandt’s graphic works – 260 of the 290 known to the world – is presented.
It is known that after buying a house in Amsterdam, the artist got into exorbitant debts. As a result, the creditors drew up a complete inventory of the furniture, art, and household goods in each room for the public auction to be held in 1656 and 1657. This list was an important source of information in the reconstruction of the ten rooms in Rembrandt’s house.
In the central part of the city is one of the main attractions of Amsterdam – Dam Square. It consists of 2 separate territories: Middledam and Platte. This place is one of the most visited by tourists in Amsterdam, because there are many interesting historical and cultural sites.
To its west is the Royal Palace, built in the style of neoclassical architecture. Nearby stands the Gothic cathedral of the 15th century Nieuwekerk. Nearby is the world-famous wax museum Madame Tussauds. In it you can watch the very process of creating wax figures, amazingly reminiscent of the original.
Historical sites successfully coexist here with modern hotels, restaurants and shopping buildings, as well as the famous local department store De Bienkorf.
Amsterdam has a long history in diamond processing and was once a major diamond center.
There are now about a dozen diamond factories, five of which offer guided tours. Tours are usually held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. You will see how the cutting is done, and if you decide to buy something, you will know for sure that you are not buying a fake.
Today, the diamond mills in Amsterdam are a reminder of the thriving Jewish diamond industry before World War II.
At the beginning of the 20th century, about 30% of the male and 10% of the female Jewish population of Amsterdam worked in the diamond industry.
The following well-known diamond factories offer their tours and sales of finished goods:
- Coster Diamonds (near Museum Square). More than 300,000 visitors come to see the work of the craftsmen every year. Free guided tours are available in more than 25 languages, and the process of cutting and grinding diamonds is explained in detail.
- Gassan Diamonds (Waterloo). The tour to the Gassan Diamonds takes about twenty minutes and is free. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Stoeltie Diamonds (Center, near Rembrandt House). The factory is near the famous Rembrandt Square. Groups are offered a free tour in their own language. During the tour, the complete production process is shown. After the tour you can see the jewelry collection and, of course, buy something.Opening hours: daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
It is the largest art museum in the city, with a collection of paintings by artists who lived and worked in the Netherlands. The paintings of the great and small Dutch are a must-see in Amsterdam.
The rest of the Rijksmuseum exhibition is entirely devoted to the history of Dutch art. The exhibits began to be collected in the 19th century, and today the museum already occupies an entire city block.
This city is famous for its canals, which are an independent transportation system for passengers and goods. In total, there are more than 160 canals in the city with a total length of more than 75 km.
There are small pleasure boats and paddle boats on these canals, and it looks great. There are beautiful bridges spanning the canals all over the city, connecting Amsterdam. The largest canal in the city of Singel was dug back in the 15th century.
It is a must to see this wonderful palace in Amsterdam, where even today the most important state events are held: the ascension to the throne, the marriage of royalty, the reception of foreign ambassadors, etc.
The royal palace was built in the 18th century for the city hall, but was later given to the royal family. Interestingly, this palace has a pile foundation of almost 14,000 piles.
This is a flower park on the outskirts of Amsterdam, which opens when the tulips, the favorite flowers of the Dutch, begin to bloom. Lilies, daffodils, and hyacinths bloom along with them at Kekenhof. After two months, at the end of blooming, the park closes.
A visit to the park during bloom time is a real treat for flower lovers. The alleys of the park are painted in all kinds of colors. Tourists adore Keukenhof, believing that they have entered a real paradise.
It is a modern museum, which appeared in Amsterdam at the end of the last century and is stuffed with the most modern technology. Its goal is to demonstrate how close man, nature, science, technology, and art are.
Visitors are given the opportunity to conduct experiments and experiments on their own, to study complex phenomena and systems, to draw conclusions and discoveries. School-aged children and teenagers especially enjoy the NEMO museum.
Anne Frank House
This house was the home of the Jewish Frank family who fled from Nazi Germany during the WWII. The story of this family is known from the famous American film by George Stephen.
Anna and her parents lived in an ancient 17th-century house and kept a diary of what was going on in Amsterdam. This diary was published after the war and became widely known as a protest against Nazism.
It is the oldest church in the city, built at the beginning of the 14th century, and today it is called the “Old Church” in Russian. Throughout its centuries-long history, Audeckerk has been repeatedly attacked by brigands and religious fanatics.
But the magnificent Gothic stained glass windows and wall paintings have survived. In 16, Protestantism came to Amsterdam, and its representatives took over the temple.
Today there are organ music concerts and the organ from the middle of the 17th century.
The Art Nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, was originally a stock exchange, and today it often hosts meetings and gatherings of public and city agencies.
The design of the exchange was created by the famous Dutch architect Berlage. Later on his project, many similar buildings were built in Europe with a very original modern look.
This stadium is home to the famous Dutch soccer club Ajax. It was built and opened in the mid-1990s. At the time, it cost the treasury €140 million.
It was the world’s first stadium with a sliding roof, so it was considered an ultra-modern sports facility. Its capacity is 70,000 spectators, so the Amsterdam Arena often hosts large-scale concerts, rock music festivals, etc.
To protect Amsterdam from the threats of military invasion in the city in the 19th and 20th centuries were built strong and complex defensive lines, which, fortunately, never came in handy.
This is a system of forts and hydraulic structures, which, if launched, could flood all the lowlands of the city in an hour. Today it’s just a UNESCO-listed landmark in Amsterdam.
This old zoo has existed since the beginning of the 19th century and is one of the best in Northern Europe. This is probably the most interesting place in Amsterdam to see with children.
This zoo is home to thousands of wonderful animals in open aviaries for maximum naturalness.
Nearby there is a large botanical garden, aquariums with fish, sea turtles, crayfish, crabs, etc.
This wonderful “flea market” can be found near Amsterdam City Hall. Various rarities and antiques are sold here. Offers a large selection of original clothing, so popular with hipsters.
There are unique jewelry from Africa and South America. You can look at the works of young or little-known designers, antique books and weapons. This is where artists and bohemians like to go in search of flamboyant pieces.
Local coffee shops are the hallmark of modern Amsterdam. Light drugs are allowed here, but only in certain places – coffee shops. Many people go to Amsterdam to try what is forbidden in their country.
In the Netherlands, marijuana, hashish, and some other drugs are allowed, but alcohol is prohibited. Today there are hundreds of coffee shops in Amsterdam, and they don’t complain about a lack of customers or a small number of customers.
Video overview of sights in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has at all times given rise to many tales and legends. Visit the Dutch capital and see for yourself if they are authentic. Or maybe it’s you who will give birth to a new story about this amazing free-spirited and beautiful place.